Trump’s Cruel Deportation Machine Set to Begin Raids
President Trump announced on June 22 via Twitter that he was postponing planned nationwide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids to arrest and deport undocumented immigrant families. The delay was an attempt to pressure congressional Democrats into making changes to asylum laws. Despite Congress passing a bill that will send $4.5 billion to the agencies that oversee immigration, as the Trump administration also wanted, the raids are back on and set to start Sunday, The New York Times reported Thursday.
In June, ICE agents had planned the raids in ten cities across the country, targeting 2,000 families, in what the Times described as “a show of force intended to demonstrate their strict enforcement of immigration laws.”
Trump tweeted in June that ultimately, millions of people could be impacted, which spread panic through immigrant communities. As The Washington Post reported, many migrants were staying inside and out of sight as much as possible, “avoiding large crowds and minimizing going out at night and even attending church.” One woman in Maryland told the Post, “If I drive, the police can stop me for any small reason, and they’ll see I don’t have documents and they’ll arrest me.” She added, “Thank God the school year is over for my oldest son, because now I don’t have to go out so much.”
This time, ICE still plans to target approximately 2,000 families, and agents will conduct what they call “collateral” deportations, which means, as ICE officials told the Times, they “might detain immigrants who [happen] to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.”
There’s no guarantee that families will stay together or even that detention centers will have room for them. As Times writers Caitlin Dickerson and Zolan Kanno-Youngs explain, “When possible, family members who are arrested together will be held in family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. But because of space limitations, some might end up staying in hotel rooms until their travel documents can be prepared. ICE’s goal is to deport the families as quickly as possible.”
In addition to backlash from immigration activists and elected officials, President Trump faced opposition to the planned raids from his own Department of Homeland Security, the agency that oversees ICE. As Dickerson and Kanno-Youngs write, “agents have expressed apprehensions about arresting babies and young children.” Plus, because word of the raids have already spread, migrants may already have made arrangements to be somewhere other than the address ICE has for them. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union have also educated immigrants on their right not to open the door or answer questions unless the agents have warrants signed by a judge.
Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, was also concerned about the logistics of housing families until their deportation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the raids “heartless,” in a statement after Trump’s announcement, but also lashed out at the four progressive members of her own caucus, Reps. Ayana Presley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, all of whom voted against a bill that increased funding to Homeland Security, ICE and Customs and Border Protection. In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, she said, “all these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following.”
In a press conference on Thursday, Pelosi said she was planning to reach out to religious leaders to help convince Trump to stop the raids. “Hopefully the president will think again about it or these groups will weigh in. Once again, families belong together,” she said.
The Times points out that the planned raids will likely receive legal challenges. The Senate is also working on a bill, led by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that would ban family separations, and provide more legal funding for asylum seekers, among other provisions. There’s no guarantee however, that the challengers could win in time, or the Senate could pass a bill quickly enough to prevent the raids from starting Sunday.Wait, before you go…
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